By Ochereome Nnanna
SOME Nigerian politicians think they are smart. They also think others are morons. They think Nigerians suffer from collective dementia, the disease that wipes away much of the memories of elderly people.
For those of you who are impressed by the antics of Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West; Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Chairman, Northern Senators Forum), here are a few things to keep in mind while you continue to clap for him for taking on former President Olusegun Obasanjo after the retired chicken farmer and former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, issued public statements advising President Muhammadu Buhari to go home in 2019.
Senator Adamu, a seasoned political chameleon, was the Governor of Nasarawa State between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. It was also the period that Obasanjo presided over the affairs of this country. During that time, Adamu was only second to Dr. Peter Odili, the then Governor of Rivers State, as the most ardent acolyte of President Obasanjo. While Odili carried out many daring “projects” close to Obasanjo’s heart, Adamu, who is a very erudite and eloquent speaker, made beautiful speeches to promote himself as a frontline Obasanjo loyalist. In fact, of all the Northern governors at that time, Adamu was unblinking in his support for Obasanjo’s aborted third term project which was eventually defeated by the combined efforts of patriots from across the political divides.
For Adamu, who is now a top ranked senator, to come out so openly and truculently take on Obasanjo just because of the latter’s open letter to Buhari, you begin to wonder what he is playing at. Adamu alleged that Obasanjo “bribed each member of the National Assembly who signed to support the (constitution amendment to enable him get a third term) with the whopping sum of N50 million”. He also made references to other corruption scandals in which Obasanjo’s name was mentioned. Then he concluded:
“Chief Obasanjo said President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the president were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock on trial on charges of corruption…”
You may wonder why it has taken Senator Adamu this long to tell Nigerians what the informed ones among us already knew about Obasanjo. When the two of them were still in office, Adamu was singing Obasanjo’s praises. Since when did Obasanjo’s third term bid suddenly become an atrocity for Adamu? If Obasanjo had not ruffled the political feathers of Adamu’s newfound political hero, Buhari, or if Obasanjo had remained in cahoots with the Daura general, would Adamu be reminding us of these things already known to us?
Come to think of it, if our judicial and ethical systems worked, would Abdullahi Adamu be a senator? There are two reasons for this question. Adamu is one of the former governors implicated and arraigned for corruption when they left office. The details of this case are within your reach if you search the internet, but let me reproduce how Saturday Punch (May 16th 2015) reported the matter in a story entitled: “Ex-Governors Have N172Bn Cases of Fraud”.
Referring to the case of the ex-Nasarawa State Governor, the paper reported as follows: “In February 2010, (Abdullahi) Adamu was arrested by the EFCC for alleged embezzlement of funds. On March 3 the same year, he was arraigned in court alongside 18 others on a 149-count charge of fraud involving over N15 billion, but the case has continued to drag in court with no headway.
“Interestingly, in an interview in February 2011, as the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate for Nasarawa West Senatorial seat, Adamu dismissed the EFCC case against him, describing it as “mere allegations”.
More interesting is the fact that Senator Adamu’s son is also a “customer” of the EFCC and the courts. The Guardian (7th February 2018) reports that on Wednesday 17th January 2018, the senator’s son, Nuraini Adamu, was arraigned in the Federal High Court, Kano for alleged fraud to the tune of N32 million, though he denied committing the offence. Hearing on the case is scheduled for March 28th 2018. Senator Adamu and his son, Nuraini, are facing trial for a similar offence: diversion of public funds in a manner suggestive of money laundering.
The only difference between Obasanjo and Adamu and his son is that unlike the latter, Obasanjo has never been docked. The Nigerian judiciary is too chicken-hearted to dock alleged corrupt former presidents. But even former governors like Adamu who were docked for over 10 years now remain free men, contesting and winning elections and getting puffed up with bravado to stand in our faces to talk about other people’s alleged corruption. Some of these politicians have now crawled over to the ruling APC and made themselves fanatical supporters of President Buhari, perhaps in exchange for “immunity” from the long arms of the law.
One by one, people like Adamu who slurped the last drop of the PDP gravy and jumped over to Buhari are making a big mockery of the anti-graft war. The “loyalties” of many of today’s politicians are very easily transferable to whoever mounts the throne of power. This same Adamu and his ilk will switch over to the next president and ruling party and turn around to bite Buhari if the wheel of fortune turns tomorrow.
The truth is that Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Theophilus Danjuma and the political courtesans switching loyalties from one of them to the other are the reasons Nigeria wallows in the abyss of backwardness, corruption, poverty and hopelessness. The earlier they get out of our lives the better.
But don’t let any of them deceive you: they are all the same.